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Aluk Todolo - Finsternis CD (album) cover


Aluk Todolo


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3 stars Uzbek prison sonnets

Dirty trash can music. Metallic coldness in dark French alleys. Music that makes you fear the dark and what it hides of creatures and mad hatters. This is the album you put on, when you have run out of horror stories to read in front of children. This will scare the living daylights out of them, and maybe land you a day in court as well.

Aluk Todolo are some French dark riders who came into these experimental waters by way of ship from the black metal scene. Whilst leaving a lot of things behind - such as the high pitched screaming vampire vocals, choruses and..... yeah well structures, there is still a good deal of stark black metal mentality about these guys. First of all, the production is raw like an unpeeled potato. Finsternis actually sounds like it was recorded inside a skip - or perhaps on the lower deck of a container-ship. Like I said trash can music.

The music itself trots along like a gothic Frankenstein. It's clumsy, slow as an Alzheimers patient on ice skates, ill-mannered, shrill, reverberating and uncouth - yet somehow this distinguishably bad taste in sonic behaviour manages to come across as something listenable. Hell, I'll even go as far as to say, that this actually is a rather good album. Sure it sounds like music from an Uzbek prison, made by convicts on bad acid with but a few rusty chains and an old broken microphone at their disposal, but it still does what it's supposed to: It frightens you, whilst stirring up bleak and chess-coloured images of what nightmarish brutal and heavy rhythmic noise just may look like.

Finsternis is made up of four "contacts" and one "totality" - whatever that means, but I guess we're dealing with some kind of concept album. The actual word Finsternis means darkness, and to tell you the truth, that is a pretty damn accurate description of the music within. Imagine being led through a couple of old and squeaky houses by a man with cold cold hands - he's breathing heavily, and he wears a lot of heavy jewellery - cling clanging his way through these black rooms with his hands around your waste - he occasionally steps on saws and other such tools that give off these chaotic noises. That's the general feel of this record. It's disturbing and scary like a David Lynch movie, and whilst you are aware of certain give-away horror moments - like the unmelodious guitar wails that sound like robotic cats being slaughtered - you are still on the fence about what kind of emotions to feel. The whole thing feels strangely absurd and disconnected, but it always has you by the throat with those cold hands. It's like being frightened of a shoe because of its placement. Quite bizarre.

If you are on the look out for what strange and terrorizing new musical frontier is being tortured and overstepped at the moment, then I urge you to give these guys a listen. This is not for the faint of heart, but as I said in the beginning of my ramblings: it will sure as hell scare away the snotty kid down the block who's into gangsta rap and likes to throw stones at heavy set people with glasses.

Report this review (#696111)
Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Album number 2 for the bizarre French band ALUK TODOLO which continues to exist in their own strange little world between the cracks of reality that utilizes no wave and Krautrock with extra helpings of dark ambient, hypnotic grooves and sinister sound effects. The album begins with "Premier Contact" which releases a steady and mesmerizing drum and bass beat that slowly builds up tension and allows haunting guitar distortion effects to drop in and out of the scene like poltergeists crashing a party on a secret burial ground. The hypnotic groove ushers in soporific tendencies only to be awoken by jarring contrasting and nerve racking Kosmiche guitar effects that dig deep into the psyche and then never let go.

As with the first album, the combination of the repetitive bass and drums with the spastic and jittery screams of anguish from the guitar that throw a stake in the heart of any passers as the rhythm sounds like a giant goblin parading through the darkened forest to slay unicorns. While musically this could be classified as a mix of no wave, noise rock and Kosmiche Krautrock, it really develops more like post-rock with all the accoutrements of the aforementioned with spastic little bursts of metal energy now and again exploding like little volcanic releases of tension. The production allows every little sound to pierce through the soul in controlled doses and yet somehow sounds raw and organic. Some of the percussive beats turn tribal as if the astral attack has set its sight on Native American sacred sites as the tom toms repetitively commence while the frenetic chaotic swirls of distortion and ambience radiate from every direction.

This is simply freaky stuff here and one that could drive you to collapse in fear if listened to in the dark or in a cold and questionable establishment. As with the debut, this is not musical composition per se but rather a beeline into the abyss of the sonic voids of space and then subject to the physics of the vacuum left behind as the sporadic guitar distortions suddenly appear and then fade away like a comet flying through the night sky. FINSTERNIS is a noticeable improvement over "Descension," not in that it has become more sophisticated but rather it has become more startling and haunting like a galaxy of pissed off ghosts have come to attack randomly. Creepy as hell but i'm a glutton for punishment and dig this sort of torturous experience.

Report this review (#1681214)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | Review Permalink

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